Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 12 October 2011

Low pay, no way!

The most recent increase in the minimum wage was pitiful in the face of the rocketing cost of living. For example, the minimum wage for under 18 year olds was only increased by 4p an hour to 3.68. Many were therefore outraged at big business representatives who claimed that the increase was 'too much' and that it would mean companies are unable to hire young people. Youth Fight for Jobs rejects that young people have to choose between unemployment and low pay.

Here Dave Tompkins and Emma Woodhall examine the scandal of low pay.

As the Jarrow March comes through the East Midlands many young people in the region will be asking questions, not just about unemployment but also the conditions faced by those who are 'lucky enough' to have a job.

Of course, the divide between those in work or out of it has nothing to do with luck or in many cases even merit. Politicians and bosses try to divide people on the basis of who is in work and who isn't, just like they try to divide them on the basis of age to undermine solidarity and demonise the unemployed.

Young workers are often the most exploited in a workforce. Often this is due to the fact that they are not unionised - meaning that they are less aware of what few rights they have. The huge propaganda campaigns by big businesses and their media outlets against trade unions mean that many people have grown up with no understanding of collective action.

Poverty levels

Of all the problems facing young workers, one of the most glaring is low pay. When Labour introduced the minimum wage they introduced it with three tiers. One level of pay for 16-17 year olds, another for 18-20 year olds (currently 4.98) and the highest for those over 21 (currently 6.08).

While the minimum wage is pitifully low for all age groups it is a scandal that it is legal for employers to pay young people less than others doing the same job.

Being paid less than other workers has no logical reasoning behind it other than basic cost-cutting by bosses. It can lead to tensions in the workforce as resentment grows towards those on higher pay or to younger people brought in because it is cheaper for the bosses.

Low pay is also a potentially humiliating experience that can lead to crippling poverty which reinforces other problems faced by young people such as a lack of housing.

Youth Fight for Jobs (YFJ) has always had an increase in the minimum wage and an end to pay discrimination among its central policies.

YFJ activists realise that ending unemployment is not enough, young people must fight for decent jobs with trade union rights and decent pay and conditions or else a whole generation will be consigned to poverty whether they have a job or not.

YFJ stands for

A massive government scheme to create socially useful jobs and apprenticeships which pay at least the minimum wage (with no youth exemptions) and offer guaranteed jobs at the end

When private bosses claim they can't afford to maintain jobs, they must open their books so we can see where the money has gone

Huge investment in public services and the nationalisation under democratic control of companies threatening closure or paying poverty wages

Donate to the Socialist Party

Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation


Your message: 


In The Socialist 12 October 2011:

Socialist Party youth and students

Interview with a Jarrow marcher

Marching in the footsteps of history

Low pay, no way!

Protest, demonstrate, occupy

International socialist news and analysis

US: Occupy Wall Street - Demanding jobs not cuts

Socialist Party workplace news

Strike on 30 November - no secret talks

'We have not gone away' say Southampton council workers

Construction electricians

60 printers sacked as bosses make a million

Workplace news in brief

Socialist Party news and analysis

Sovereign debt crisis, recession... No way out under capitalism

Cameron's big 'them and us' society

Fox takes cronyism to new level

Wales Assembly budget: Labour piles on the misery

Kinnock's bigotry

Con-Dems' policies increase poverty

Fast news

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

NHS protesters occupy Westminster Bridge

Health campaigners take Ascot by storm

Coventry by-election helps build socialist alternative to cuts

London elections - more support for TU/anti-cuts stand

Socialist Party fundraising

Socialism 2011 finance appeal

Socialist history

Battle of Cable Street 1936 - When workers stopped the fascists

The Socialist - readers' comments

Portrait of a pension pilferer


Home   |   The Socialist 12 October 2011   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:

Low pay:

triangle6.5 million working poor: Fight to end low pay

triangleLow Pay, Long Hours. Bosses rip us off. Organise the fightback now!

triangleCleaners strike over low pay at Haringey secondary school

triangleEast London Socialist Party: Low pay and the winter strike wave

triangleLondon - 'autumn of discontent'


triangleMore blunders and profiteering in Tory track-and-trace scheme

triangleTransport workers and passengers mustn't pay the price

triangleFurlough cut-off could force millions back to unsafe workplaces

triangleLeicester care workers face pay cut and worse conditions

Minimum wage:

triangleUniversal Basic Income: not a solution to insecurity and poverty under capitalism

triangleThe minimum wage must go up! Fund coronavirus workers, not bosses' profits!

triangleEssential workers deserve more

Young people:

triangleYoung people who voted for Corbyn's manifesto will now ask... How can we win those ideas?

triangleStand firm for socialist policies to stop Tory attacks


triangleThe 'Lucas Plan'


triangleFurlough scheme extended - workers need 100% of wages


triangleYFJ to join 'free education' demo


triangleCapitalism and human progress

Youth Fight for Jobs:

triangleJarrow March: an inspiring show of solidarity between workers and youth

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns


Fighting Fund

We need readers' support to fight capitalist crisis



Fight P&O's billionaire bosses' jobs cut plan



Schools aren't safe



Energy firm plans to make 2,600 redundant



Hull Trades Council debates workers' political representation



Eerily quiet before second wave - don't reopen schools!



No return to unsafe construction sites



Mick Cotter 21-9-57 to 20-5-20


Rolls Royce

Strong union response needed against job cuts



Postal workers' action results in double victory for union



Organising to fight for workplace safety



Posties walk out in Peterborough after manager tests positive



Johnson claims workplaces safe but HSE cancels inspections



Safe protests against Tory corona chaos continue



Trades council debates workers' political representation

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777


Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 07748 534 891

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041



Alphabetical listing

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020